July 23, 2012
Now more than ever, we live in a culture that craves instant success. And the need to execute and achieve quickly can sometimes cause players to lose sight of what it takes to build true excellence – an investment in planning and preparation that spans many years.
In premier sports, coaches, managers and players operate under more scrutiny than ever before, as the proliferation of social media and outlets for news and commentary creates a non-stop conversation about performance. Top athletes and coaches live under a microscope, where success and failure is amplified at lightning speed.
But longevity – and the long-term success of any team, coach or individual, in sports or business – results from long-term planning. And buy-in is required at all levels to execute winning strategies. Most organizations need recalibration at some point, whether suffering from a single traumatic event or too many years of losing seasons. They need to do a 180-degree turn and re-establish themselves. Time, patience, energy and commitment are required to achieve these seismic shifts, and the hierarchy must be on board.
It’s a tough synergy to attain, as many coaches now have very short windows in which to demonstrate achievement. They might be fired within a year if they don’t deliver instant success (and this is no longer just at the professional level). Expectations in sports – and at the top of other professions – have always been brutal. Everyone knows the old saying, “You’re only as good as your last game.”
But the money involved in participating or watching sports, and the relentless exposure that envelops premier sports, has intensified the pressure.
Mega stars like Pelé, Messi and Michael Jordanwill always emerge, but even today’s average player is stronger, more powerful and more fine-tuned than ever before, raising the competitive stakes. Participation in youth sports has quadrupled in the past 20 years and the quality of players has increased significantly.